The viewership numbers are in for Saturday night’s rematch in Saudi Arabia, where Anthony Joshua recaptured his WBA, WBO and IBF Heavyweight Championships with a 12-round decision over Andy Ruiz.
And, they are good, but not great.
It was the first time ever a heavyweight title fight had been held in the Middle East and because of the time difference with the U.K., the fight was actually shown in prime-time Saturday night there.
That translated into a record 1.6 million pay-per-view purchases through Sky Sports Box Office, according to the London Sun. And, that number narrowly topped Joshua’s April 2017 title defense win over Wladimir Klitschko that had just over 1.5 million purchases for his record on PPV.
If that number is correct then the revenue generated from the pay-per-view which was $24.95 pounds in British currency would represent around $40 million.
Meanwhile, the fight in the newly constructed temporary boxing arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia had over 14,000 in live attendance, which likely represented at least another $30 million in “live gate” revenue. There have been unsubstantiated reports that Joshua had been guaranteed as much as, $60 million for the rematch.
As for the DAZN streaming service, which held the rights in the United States as well as several other countries, boxing insider for The Athletic, Mike Coppinger, tweeted this audience information Monday night:
Sources: #RuizJoshua2 pulled in around 1.8 million viewers across DAZN’s nine markets, and approximately 200,000 new subscribers, with most of those sign-ups coming from the U.S.
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) December 10, 2019
Those are solid numbers considering that the fight was in the middle of Saturday afternoon U.S. time with the difference in Saudi Arabia. And, it competed heavily with college football in the United States. That included the massively popular LSU-Georgia SEC Championship Game, which had already kicked off prior to the Ruiz-Joshua first bell.
There is probably one disappointment, in that for all of the build-up with the rematch and the fact that Joshua is a hero in the United Kingdom, there were not at least two million or more pay-per-view buys for last Saturday night.
Still, that’s not going to stop Matchroom Boxing and promoter Eddie Hearn from bringing Joshua back likely to either Wembley Stadium or the outdoor stadium in Cardiff, Wales, to have Joshua make his next title defense in the Spring.